Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
The State Attorney’s Office for Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit serves Duval, Clay, and Nassau counties. In 2014, an inventory revealed more than 1,700 untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) throughout the Circuit. Under the SAKI/DANY grant and the leadership of the newly developed SAKI Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), 1,748 SAKs from the Circuit were tested, which eliminated the backlog of unsubmitted SAKs and resulted in 793 profiles entered in the CODIS database and 426 hits. As the applicant, the SAO will serve as the lead agency for the SAKI Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults project.
To date, 165 cases have been identified for prosecution and charges have been filed in 34 cases. Approximately 938 cases returned inconclusive DNA results and it is estimated that 1,404 cases contain secondary items of evidence, which could benefit from additional DNA testing.
There are a substantial number of cases from the original backlog that are eligible for Y-STR, advanced DNA testing methods and/or FGG/FGGS (forensic genealogy/forensic genealogy searches). 1,404 SAK cases with untested secondary evidence were identified under JSO’s FY20 SAKI grant. A preliminary review of this secondary evidence indicates approximately 26,390 may be eligible for further DNA testing. The SAKI working group must first scrutinize these cases prior to submitting them to the MDT who will determine whether to proceed with additional testing. Cases that yield conclusive results will require further investigation by the dedicated detectives. Most of our original SAKI cases were committed by serial offenders. The dedicated prosecutor will handle the prosecution of the complex cases that result from the testing of the secondary items of evidence.
The proposed project will provide necessary resources to achieve the following deliverables: determine which items of secondary evidence should be submitted for further DNA analysis, evaluate cases to use Y-STR, advanced DNA testing methods and FGG/FGGS on, fund a crime analyst position to conduct in-depth intelligence analyses and ViCAP entry/analysis, as well as further a victim-centered, trauma informed approach and lead to additional cases that will be handled by the dedicated prosecutor.
These efforts will help prevent further criminal activity by high-risk individuals while also serving survivors and the community. We thank you for your consideration and hope to continue a partnership that makes an impact in the lives of survivors and enhances public safety.